DUET says Australian govt approves $5.5 bln takeover by CKI consortium

(Adds more details, context on gov't policy)

SYDNEY, April 21 (Reuters) - Australia's DUET Group

on Friday said it had been advised by Cheung Kong Infrastructure

Holdings (CKI) that the Australian government has

approved the Hong Kong company's $5.5 billion consortium-led

takeover offer.

There had been concerns the government could reject the deal

after it last year blocked CKI from buying a state-owned power

grid, Ausgrid, on the grounds of "national security". The DUET

assets include a smaller power grid as well as a gas distributor

and a major gas pipeline.

DUET chairman Doug Halley said shareholders would now be

able to vote on the CKI bid at a meeting later on Friday

following the approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board

(FIRB).

DUET shares jumped 9.5 percent at the open to A$3.01

($2.26), just under the A$3.03 offer price, having traded well

below the bid price on concerns the deal could be blocked.

In January, Australia formed a new body to oversee

investment in critical infrastructure assets, including power

grids. The government in February said it would weigh long-term

geopolitical considerations when assessing bids for those

assets.

The CKI-led consortium also includes Cheung Kong Property

Holdings and Power Asset Holdings.

($1 = 1.3305 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Jane Wardell and Jamie Freed; Editing by Shri

Navaratnam)